Different methods are available for the treatment of renal cancer. If the tumour is confined to the kidney, the following treatment methods may be considered.
If kidney cancer is diagnosed, surgery has so far been the standard procedure. If the tumour is detected at an early stage and its size is limited or the other kidney is damaged or already removed, the operation is performed preserving the kidneys. This is referred to as a partial renal resection or partial nephrectomy. However, surgery usually involves the removal of the entire kidney, for example if the tumor has affected the entire kidney (simple nephrectomy). If there is a larger tumour, the cancer cells may also be present in the surrounding tissue. Then the adrenal glands and surrounding lymph nodes are also removed (radical nephrectomy).
Systemic forms of therapy Chemotherapy, drug therapy or immunotherapy
Several methods can be applied systemically in renal cancer. However, chemotherapy alone is not very effective in the case of a kidney tumour, as the tumours are often resistant to the drugs. Combination preparations must therefore be used to achieve treatment success. The therapeutic field can be expanded with available newer active substances or substances still in the testing phase. In the context of a drug therapy, so-called tyrosine kinase inhibitors can block the processes of multiplication and contribute to the regression of a tumour.
In the case of elderly patients, an active surveillance strategy may be chosen as an alternative to surgery in an early stage of the tumour under strict conditions such as age and concomitant diseases or life expectancy. However, in order to minimise the risk of uncontrolled tumour growth, close monitoring with imaging is necessary every three months. If the tumour increases due to sudden growth, the risks to the patient may increase.
The cells of a kidney tumour are usually less sensitive to radiation than cells of other tumours. Conventional radiation therapy, which is often administered in fractional doses over several weeks, is therefore usually ineffective.
Radiosurgery is a very precise irradiation of the tumor with a usually single, high dose. A tumour is effectively destroyed by this very effective treatment method. Healthy surrounding tissue, on the other hand, is protected to the maximum. Scientific publications show the efficacy of treating kidney tumours with radiosurgery (e. g. Cyberknife). For patients, the radiosurgical method is comfortable as it is not burdensome.